There’s less than a week to go until the biggest shake-up of consumer rights law in a generation. But how much will you benefit from the new Consumer Rights Act?
Are you up to speed with your new rights? The new Consumer Rights Act 2015 becomes law on Thursday 1 October 2015 and brings with it a raft of new rights for consumers.
This is a consolidating Act. Which, for those not in the know, means it brings together and replaces three big pieces of consumer legislation:
- Sale of Goods Act 1979
- Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999
- Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
So what exactly will this mean to the average punter? Let’s take a look at some of the new rights you can look forward to…
30 days to reject
The new Act gives some much-needed clarity on how long you have to return a faulty product hassle free for a full refund. The good news for shoppers is that you’ll have 30 days to make the return for a full refund.
Is that long enough?
Well, it’s an improvement on the soon-to-be-replaced Sale of Goods Act, which offers no specific timeframe – only a ‘reasonable time’, which depends on the circumstances but in practice is usually around three to four weeks.
You can still return a faulty product after the initial 30 days, but the retailer has an opportunity to repair or replace it before you can demand a refund.
Your new digital rights
The new legislation also sets out – for the very first time – bespoke rights for when you purchase digital content. It covers pretty much any digital content you pay for and download or stream – including apps, music, movies, games or eBooks.
There isn’t a 30-day grace period for refunds as with physical products. Instead, if there’s something wrong with your new digital content you’ll have the right to a repair or replacement in the first instance.
And if that repair or replacement doesn’t fix the problem, you can ask for a price reduction which can be up to 100% of the cost.
The retailer (not the developer) will be responsible for compensating you. So if the app you downloaded on Google’s Play Store is broken, your rights for a repair or replacement will lie with Google. The retailer will also be liable if any device or other digital content you own is damaged as a result of the dodgy digital content you’ve downloaded.
It’s not yet clear how this will work in practice, but it could mean that you will be protected by the Consumer Rights Act if an update to a digital device – like an iOS update on iPhone – causes your device to cease to function.
No more unfair contracts?
The Consumer Rights Act also makes make it easier for consumers tochallenge hidden fees and charges. Now the key terms of a contract, including price, may be assessed for fairness unless they are both prominent and transparent. This is an improvement because previously such terms were exempt from a fairness test if they were written in plain language. If a term is unfair then a company won’t be able to enforce it.
There’s a lot more to the new Consumer Rights Act, which you can read all about here. Which of the new rights are you most looking forward to exercising? Do you think the new Act goes far enough or would you like to see other rights and protection included?